Urban Outfitters: Still relevant?

Urban Outfitters is a line that is unique and trendy, with a slight hipster vibe to them. Their visuals are what really set them apart, and they take the time to change their wall decorations to complement your shopping experience. At least, this is what the brand meant to me a few years ago. A month ago, I passed by an Urban Outfitters store and  I couldn’t remember when I had last gone into one. I decided to walk in and look around, breaking a very long Urban Outfitters dry spell for me. I was greeted with a store layout that was considerably messier. Urban Outfitters sells accessories, home merchandise, books, and clothes and it can be difficult to arrange all the items in a visually pleasing layout. I found myself having to do a lot of loops around the store in order to take everything in, and there was a lot to take in. The entire vibe of the store was overwhelming and would serve as a good reason to opt for the online experience instead.

On top of that, the only time I hear about Urban Outfitters anymore is when they sell some kind of clothing that ends up offending someone. Granted, I used to applaud their efforts to push the envelope but their attempts to sell shock-worthy clothing have been particularly distasteful lately (see: Kent State Sweatshirt and Navajo print clothing). What is even up with Urban Outfitters’ obsession with using the term “Navajo“? I’m all for a risqué PR campaign that gets people talking about your brand but having your brand constantly associated with offensive clothing is way overdone. In fact, in between each offensive clothing incident, I don’t really ever hear a peep from Urban Outfitters for any other reason. I’ve pretty much forgotten about the brand except for the times I see them in the news for doing something offensive or if I pass by their stores. Relying on offensive clothing to stay relevant is a poor way to market to your demographic. Urban Outfitters, while you were uploading pictures of “omg such cute Navajo” clothing, a lot of your fans moved on to lower priced attire. It is not a secret that their sales have been down.

That isn’t to say that Urban Outfitters can’t pick itself back up. In fact, a lot of their styles are still spot on, albeit a little pricey for their quality. Urban Outfitters needs to clean out their closet and stop relying on offensive clothing to bring in the sales, as it clearly doesn’t really work anymore. In this day in age, everyone is offended by something and the line between cheeky and offensive is thin. Furthermore, Urban Outfitters needs to redo their layout so that their vast assortment of merchandise is not such a headache to take in. A store like Urban Outfitters has historically relied on foot traffic in their stores as part of their appeal. It was a place to hangout and shop at with their gag gifts and trendy clothes. Hopefully Urban Outfitters can get it together and clean out their closet before they become completely irrelevant.